How Does the Use of a Helmet Impact an Injury Claim after a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle riding is one of the most popular activities that is synonymous with the arrival of spring. Tens of thousands of Kentucky motorcyclists will hit the roadways over the coming months, enjoying the sense of freedom and exhilaration that only comes from riding on the open roads and taking in all of the natural scenic beauty the Bluegrass State has to offer.
Spring and summer are the peak motorcycle riding seasons, but this is also the time when the number of accidents increases. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly 60% of all motorcycle accident fatalities occur between the months of May and September.
Motorcycle accidents have been increasing in recent years, and today, the number of accidents each year is more than double what it was just a couple decades ago. Some of the most common reasons motorcycle accidents occur include:
- Distracted driving: Motorists have more distractions now than ever before. Texting while driving and similar activities are especially dangerous, because they distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. When the full attention of the motorist is on their smartphone and away from the road, they may fail to see a motorcycle that is riding close by.
- Blind spot accidents: Picking up on the previous point, there are times when a driver does not see a motorcyclist that enters their blind spot. If a motorist tries to change lanes or make a turn without knowing that a motorcyclist is riding beside them, the results can be disastrous.
- Driving while intoxicated: When a motorist or motorcyclist is driving or riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their reaction times are slower, and they tend to make poor driving decisions that sometimes result in an accident.
- Drowsy driving: Drivers and riders who are tired and fatigued due to lack of sleep or other factors also have slower reaction times, and in the worst cases, they can end up falling asleep at the wheel.
How Does the Use of a Helmet Impact a Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim?
Kentucky only requires riders under the age of 21 and riders with a motorcycle instruction permit or who have held a motorcycle operator’s license for less than one year to wear a helmet. For all other motorcyclists, helmet use is optional. If a rider is involved in an accident, the use of a helmet (or lack thereof) may or may not impact an injury claim, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Helmet use most likely has no relation to the cause of a motorcycle accident. In other words, the accident probably would have happened whether you were wearing a helmet or not. That said, if you were not wearing a helmet, there is a good chance that the insurance company will try to use that fact to argue that you are not a safe rider and therefore you are at least partially responsible for the accident. And if you are under 21 or otherwise required to wear a helmet, you may also be cited for violating state helmet laws.
Whether you were wearing a helmet or not could be a factor in determining how much compensation you will receive for your injuries. But this depends on the type of injuries you sustained. For example, if you broke your arm or leg, the use of a helmet would not affect the severity of your injury, therefore not wearing one should not impact your claim.
On the other hand, if you were not wearing a helmet and you sustained a head or neck injury, the insurance company might argue that your injuries could have been prevented if you would have worn a helmet, or at the very least, they would not have been as serious. If this happens, you will need to prove that your injuries would have been just as bad even if you were wearing a helmet.
If you are not able to successfully prove this point, it may be determined that you are partially at fault for the accident. And under Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence laws, this means that the amount of compensation you receive would be reduced in proportion to the percentage you are found to be at fault.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Kentucky? Call John H. Ruby & Associates for Experienced Legal Help
If you or someone close to you was injured in a motorcycle crash that was caused by the negligence or reckless actions of another person or party, you deserve to be fully compensated. Even if you were not wearing a helmet, this does not necessarily mean that the accident was your fault. There is no doubt, however, that the insurance company will try to use the fact that you were not wearing a helmet against you; and if this is the case, you need strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.
At the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates, we have in-depth experience successfully representing individuals injured in motorcycle accidents and all other types of personal injuries in Kentucky. We work closely with our clients, putting our experience to work to provide the skilled and personalized representation they need and deserve. Call our office today at 502-895-2626 for a free no-obligation case assessment. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Louisville office in person at your convenience.